Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer affecting the immune system, occurs when the body produces excessive abnormal lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell. Eventually, lymph nodes become crowded by these cancerous lymphocytes and begin to swell. Certain infections, bacteria, and medications, as well as older age, are all well-documented risk factors of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
But another potential cause has emerged that worries doctors everywhere: exposure to glyphosate, an ingredient often found in weed killers. As we continue to serve patients across Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey, Regional Cancer Care Associates draws attention to the link between these products and cancer diagnoses.
What Is Glyphosate?
Used by farmers and homeowners alike, glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide in America and throughout the world. More than 750 products sold in the United States alone contain glyphosate, including such popular brands as:
- Ortho GroundClear
- RM43 Total Vegetation Control
- Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer
- Dow Rodeo Herbicide
- Ranger Pro Herbicide
Manufacturers selling glyphosate-containing products have claimed for years the chemical is safe for humans to use, stating the herbicide only harms plants. Data now suggest otherwise, however. Glyphosate exposure is linked to chromosomal and DNA damage in human cells, as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other types of hematopoietic (blood cell-related) cancers. More than 25 countries and some jurisdictions in the U.S. have banned or restricted the use of glyphosate.
The link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was brought into the spotlight thanks to lawsuits against weed-killing product manufacturers like Monsanto, the company that makes Roundup. In one case, for example, Monsanto was ordered by a federal jury to pay $80 million to an elderly man with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who for 30 years used Roundup on his property.
Though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared in 2017 that glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer, other organizations do not agree. The chemical appears on California’s list of cancer-causing agents, while the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer dubbed it a “probable human carcinogen.” Plus, a review by the University of Washington found that agricultural professionals highly exposed to glyphosate had a 41% higher risk of contracting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than those with low or no exposure.
When to Seek Medical Attention
An estimated 2 in 100 Americans develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but that rate increases to 2.8 in 100 for those who are frequently exposed to glyphosate. Though the chance of developing this type of cancer is still low, anyone who regularly works with weed or grass killers containing glyphosate is at increased risk. What’s more, the widespread use of glyphosate means it’s also found in food, water, and all around us, giving researchers reason to believe nearly all Americans have been exposed.
Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about your level of exposure to glyphosate and are experiencing any of the following symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma:
- Unexplained or sudden weight loss
- Coughing, difficulty breathing, or chest pain
- Swelling or pain in the abdomen
- Persistent night sweats, fever, or fatigue
- Swollen lymph nodes that are typically painless and may be seen or felt as lumps under the skin, particularly in the groin, armpits, or neck
Learn More about Glyphosate and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The Regional Cancer Care Associates clinical team strives to stay on the cutting edge of the latest scientific advancements and breakthroughs in cancer research, including the connection between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This allows us to offer the highest standard of care to all our patients across Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey, regardless of the cause or type of their cancer. For more information, contact us today.